Many of us work daily on specific areas of personal/character development or becoming better at specific leadership techniques and principles. This daily effort allows us to utilize the potential God created in us. Along with this daily growth, we are well served to periodically look at the big picture of how God develops a leader and make application to our own situation.
Joshua became a leader at one of Israel’s most difficult times in its history. Within days of his appointment he led the nation across the Jordan River into hostile territory and set out to conquer, divide and settle the land God had promised the Hebrew people. It was a daunting task but Joshua succeeded in this assignment as God’s leader. A brief review may help you see how your daily work fits into the big picture of becoming God’s leader for the assignment He has given you:
Every leader will be faced with situations and decisions that demand courage. Just as God knows your current situation, He knew Joshua’s leadership situation. God knew Joshua’s need for courage and gave him guidance that would strengthen his faith. Read Joshua 1:1-9.
Joshua had some challenges that demanded courage in his leadership role. He had to contend with the military powers of the people living in the Promised Land, most of who had standing armies and professional soldiers who knew they were fighting for their homes and the survival of their families. And Joshua also knew he would be facing them with a partially trained and untested band of nomadic shepherds.
As we enter the study of Joshua as a leader please read the book of Joshua. A more detailed look at several passages will happen during the daily studies but we’ll start the study of Joshua’s leadership with a summary then move to a more detailed look at specific leadership principles over the next few days.
Joshua had been mentored by Moses but he was clearly a different kind of leader than Moses. Moses had a diplomatic and reform leadership style and Joshua was a military leader. We see the Lord lead Israel in a new and appropriate way through this new leader. The people were entering a season in which they needed to act as a military unit to conquer the land, so God raised up a different kind of leader and used Joshua’s personality and strengths to provide direction in a military style.
Becoming a leader is not a quick, simple process. It may be possible to become a self-made leader but that would be rare by any standard and impossible for a Christian. If the Spirit of God is not in control of leading and directing a Christian leader, they may develop skills but those skills bring glory to themselves not to God. Most highly successful, effective Christian leaders receive input not only from the Spirit of God but also from another leader that invests in them. Joshua is a tremendous example of such a leader. Read Numbers 27:15-23.
This portion of scripture is right at the end of Moses life when he was publicly passing the mantle of leadership to Joshua. There are excellent leadership lessons for both the mentor and the person receiving the mentoring in these few verses:
In the study of Joshua as a leader we have the benefit of seeing his whole leadership life from start to finish. Having the whole story of Joshua’s leadership life allows us to quickly respect him as a leader but had you been alive back in his day watching him develop as a leader, it is possible you could have had a different feeling about Joshua’s influence as a leader. According to Numbers 14:10a “But the whole assembly talked about stoning them.” So what happened? How did Joshua’s influence grow from a man saved from being stoned only by intervention of God to a man the people willingly followed into battle when taking the Promised Land?